Explaining the Golf Scoring Phrases 'Go Out In,' 'Come Home In'

In golf, the players (and announcers on broadcasts) sometimes talk about "going out in" a certain number, or "coming in" in 33 or 35 or whatever score. What do those terms mean? And why do golfers use that convention — going out, coming in — to talk about scoring?

Those golf scoring phrases mean this:

  • "Go out in" — and variations of the phrase such as going out in, went out in, goes out in, etc. — is a reference to a golfer's score on the front nine. So a golfer who "went out in 35" scored a 35 on the front nine.
  • "Come home in" (also phrased as "come in in") — and its variations such as coming home in, came in in, got home in, etc. — refers to a golfer's back nine score. A golfer who "came home in (came in in) 35" scored a 35 on the back nine.
Before we provide a few more examples of usage, let's explain why golfers use these formulations when talking about front-nine scores and back-nine scores. It's all about the meanings of the words "out" and "in" specific to golf scorekeeping.

Most golf scorecards provide a space for golfers to write down their front-nine score, in a column titled "Out." And a space to write down their back-nine score, in a column titled "In." Another term for the front nine is "outward nine," and another term for back nine is "inward nine."

It was once common for golf courses to be laid out as nine holes going away from the clubhouse in a mostly straight line, followed by nine holes playing back toward the clubhouse in a mostly straight line. Nine holes out, nine holes back in; hence, outward nine and inward nine. And, hence, golfers refer to their score "going out" when talking about the front nine, and their score "coming in" when talking about the back nine.

(We used "come home in" in the headline because "come in in," while a phrase many golfers use, is awkward due to the double in's. "Homeward nine" is a synonym for "inward nine," and "home" and "in," in this very specific context, are often used interchangeably.)

Imagine Tiger Woods needs to score 68 in the final round to win. After the first nine holes, you might hear an announcer say, "Tiger went out in 36, so he needs to come home in 32."

A mid-handicap recreational golfer might be disappointed in a score of 90, but be pleased with her play on one of the nines: "Going out I played pretty good, shot 41, but coming in I stumbled to a 49."

More definitions:

Popular posts from this blog

Ryder Cup Captains: The Full List